Pixar’s SparkShorts initiative launched earlier this year with the release of several shorts online. The program provided a platform to fresh voices who had yet to direct a feature or short film at the studio. It was created to find a “new creative spark” or a few and based on what we have seen so far, it appears Pixar has succeeded. Three SparkShorts have been released thus far – a few more are on the way, including one that spotlights “a non-verbal autistic girl.”
That quote is taken directly from the synopsis provided by Pixar for the upcoming short, Loop, which is directed by Erica Milsom and produced by Krissy Cababa and Michael Warch. Danielle Feinberg served as the Supervising Technical Director and Director of Photography (Lighting). The synopsis for the short, which was released recently, is below:
A non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy are partnered on a canoeing trip. To complete their journey across an urban lake, they must both learn how the other experiences the world.
A new poster was shared yesterday by SparkShorts production lead David Lally. The design of the short’s logo is beautiful, featuring a bevy of colors blending into one another. Also, the way that the poster features the two characters and nobody else in the middle of a lake truly captures how these two will need to connect and work together to accomplish their goal.
Autism spectrum disorder, as autism is known as today, is way more present among the population than we talk about. According to the CDC, “about 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).” Yet, we rarely see ASD represented in stories told on film or on TV. It is true that strides are being made, with a few notable examples (e.g. Netflix’s Atypical), but it is simply not enough.
Seeing a Pixar creative team work together to tell a story starring a girl diagnosed with ASD is incredible. Not only that – it appears that it will be a learning experience for the boy as well as for her – both will have to “learn how the other experiences the world” in order to “complete their journey.” That sure sounds like a story that celebrates diversity. Part of the reason why SparkShorts was created was to tell diverse stories from a diverse set of filmmakers. Loop seems to be yet another example of the initiative making good on that promise. We can hope so!
Like the other remaining SparkShorts, Loop is set to debut on Disney+, the upcoming streaming platform from Disney. We do not have a premiere date for the short, although we do know that Disney+ is currently set to launch on November 12th. The service will cost $6.99/month or $69.99/year. Considering the sheer value of Disney’s entire film catalog, and being the exclusive home for new content like SparkShorts, Disney+ will not only be a steal – it will be a must-buy. I cannot wait to see Loop!